Monday, January 24, 2011

Utah State Constitution Now Digitally Available

Thanks to Gina Strack for blogging about the digitization of the Utah State Constitution. I first received the news via her blog post at I highly recommend this blog, frequently updated by the Utah State Archives, for important information on researching in Utah.

I just finished the Advanced Methodology track at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. We were reminded that for accurate information we MUST go back to the original laws, statutes, and constitutions. Only there can we fully understand the laws and how they impacted the lives of our ancestors. Laws of majority, guardianship, dower rights, and more will affect the accuracy of our research.

Thank you, Utah State Archives, for making this a whole lot easier! Access the digital constitution here:

Happy Researching!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Accepting SLIG Course Proposals.

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Director and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Advisory Committee are now accepting proposals for course coordinators for future SLIG courses.

The SLIG Advisory Committee will meet this year:
10am Tuesday February 1st 2011
10am Tuesday May 3rd 2011
10am Tuesday August 2nd 2011
10am Tuesday November 1st 2011
The deadlines for submitting proposals to be considered at each meeting are 5 days before the meeting.

The SLIG Advisory Committee can accept proposals anytime, but of course we want to solidify course schedules as early as possible so that students can plan ahead and we can publicize well and fill the courses with students. After the SLIGAC makes their recommendations, the final decision authority rests with the SLIG director and the UGA board as per UGA's policies and procedures. This vetting process, as has been set up in the UGA Policies and Procedures manual, will ensure that only the best courses are offered at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.

Please contact UGA President Janet Hovorka at janet(at) or SLIG director Adele Marcum at marcum(at) for further information and a copy of the suggested proposal outline.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

SLIG from behind the scenes

by Janet Hovorka

This last week I got to see the most amazing conference, from the most amazing perspective. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is an icon in genealogy conferences for a reason. It isn't a conference--where you will take a class on this and a class on that, but it is an institute--a place where you can go and take 20 course hours in a specific topic from the rock stars of genealogists. Literal rock stars. These people are incredibly knowledgable. And then you go over to the library and work with the instructors and the other students in your classes on finding and analyzing the information on your lines.

Being the new Utah Genealogical Association president, I was thrown into administrating SLIG with a new director--the wonderful Adele Marcum--and many members of the new committee who had never worked at Institute (thanks so much Jill Woodbury, Sherry Stevens, Kerry Farnsworth, you guys are not only brave but incredibly competent). And thanks be to Luana Darby, the infallible past UGA president who has kept the ship afloat through some hard years and was there for us with every question we had. I'm so glad she hasn't abandoned ship yet and is still here to help us keep things straight.

As is typical with genealogists, the attendees at SLIG were sincere, sweet people. I can't count how many times we heard, "no problem." We had people pitch in and help with handing out lunches, stapling and handing out syllabus materials, taking tickets and etc. And that doesn't even begin to talk about how they helped each other and the great companionship that goes on at Institute. That is why my husband and I choose to work in this industry. I love the people I get to work with. Genealogists as a whole are good, kind people.

And the coordinators and instructors were patient and generous with a new untested team. These instructors are incredibly knowledgeable--the rock stars of genealogy in the US. I loved the level of conversation all week, and thoroughly enjoyed the classes I got to sit in on. But they are knowledgeable AND generous. I didn't know until this week how truly amazing they are all the way around. They take a personal interest in each of their students and do one on one consultations all week in small and large blocks of time. I was so honored to be able to work with them this week. They all worked diligently with me to put together a 3 year plan for SLIG that will put the conference on a stronger footing. And one of the highlights of the week for me was to be able to present Tom Jones with the UGA Silver Tray award for publishing, Wilma Adkins with the 2010 Award of Merit and to present Paula Stuart Warren as a Fellow of UGA. They are, each of them, both scholarly and magnanimous. They are rock stars who are somehow able to make you feel important too.

It was so fun to be so immersed in the sociability of Family History last week. That is one of the reasons an organization like UGA is so important. You see that in the Chapter meetings, you see that in the committees, and you see that in the conferences. I know many of us came away last week with life-long friends. The level of conversation was so invigorating and energizing. It was great to be able to talk to people who speak my language. Coming back to my regular life, where everyone thinks I'm mildly crazy, it was nice to know there are people out there like me. And it was so great to party with them for a week. Can't wait until next year.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy--Future Classes

As is tradition, the future classes for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy were announced last Friday night at the SLIG closing banquet. However, in a break with tradition, classes were announced not only for the 2012 year, but also for 2013 and 2014. The SLIG team decided to do this so that:
  1. We could get a better jump on publicity,
  2. Students could plan for future courses,
  3. Potential instructors would know where to contact future course coordinators,
  4. The SLIG advisory committee would have the option of considering proposals for future courses with the time to go through a thorough vetting process.
So, we are very excited to announce the proposed courses for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2012:
  • American Research and Records: Focus on Families with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA
  • Welsh Research with Darris Williams, AG
  • Scandinavian Research with Geoffrey Morris, AG
  • Genealogy Software and Research Tools with George Morgan
  • Advanced Research Tools: Land Records with Rick Sayre, CG and Pam Sayre CG, CGL
  • Principles of Effective Genealogy Librarianship with Drew Smith MLS
  • Beyond the Library: Using Original Source Repositories with John Philip Colletta Ph.D., FUGA
  • Advanced Methodology with Thomas Jones Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA
  • NEHGS: Advanced New England Research with D. Joshua Taylor
  • and Problem Solving with Judith Hansen, AG, MLS
And we are also very excited to announce the proposed courses for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2013:
  • American Research and Records: Focus on Localities with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA
  • English Research
  • German Research
  • A Genealogist's Guide to the Internet Galaxy with Thomas MacEntee
  • Researching in Washington DC Without Leaving Home with Rick Sayre, CG and Pam Sayre CG, CGL
  • Advanced Methodology with Thomas Jones Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA
  • Hanging out a Shingle: Genealogy Marketing and Business Practices with Crista Cowan
  • Producing a Quality Family Narrative with John Philip Colletta Ph.D., FUGA
  • NEHGS: TBD with D. Joshua Taylor
  • and Problem Solving with Judith Hansen, AG, MLS
And likewise, these courses are planned for Institute 2014:
  • American Research and Records: Focus on Families with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA
  • African American Research
  • Advanced Methodology with Thomas Jones Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA
  • Producing a Quality Family Narrative with John Philip Colletta Ph.D., FUGA
  • and Problem Solving with Judith Hansen, AG, MLS
Watch here for any changes or additions to the courses. Registration for 2012 courses will open on the website on June 4th 2011.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

UGA announces the 2010 Award of Merit

The UGA board of directors was very pleased last Friday Evening to award Wilma Adkins, our tireless UGA treasurer the 2010 Award of Merit. We had to surprise her with the award or she never would have let us give it to her.

As Luana Darby, UGA President 2010 stated, "Wilma is the voice of reason on the UGA board." She has worked hard to keep the finances straight through good years and bad, and has been the one to keep us on the straight and narrow. While she doesn't have a vote on the board, her comments are often known to swing the vote in the right direction.

Thank you so much Wilma for all of your efforts to keep UGA vibrant and viable. We really appreciate you.

The UGA Board of Directors.

UGA Names 2010 Fellow (FUGA)

Paula Stuart-Warren, a talented and engaging teacher as well as meticulous researcher has been awarded the UGA Fellow award.

Fellows are awarded "in recognition of living individuals whose distinguished contributions and on-going commitment to the field of genealogy are of national or international scope. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership of major genealogical organizations over a significant period of time." Isn't this a perfect description of Paula?

We asked some of her colleagues to share their thoughts and here is what they shared:

D. Joshua Taylor wrote, "Paula Stuart-Warren's personal and upbeat personality has touched countless genealogists--and future genealogists. Her work will continue to influence the field for years to come."

Kory Meyerink wrote, "Paula Stuart-Warren has been with SLIG since the 2nd or 3rd year. She is a great teacher, writer and researcher. She is a long time volunteer for FGS and has truly made an impact on the genealogical community nationwide."

Paula has been tireless in mentoring intermediate genealogists at SLIG. She authored Your Guide to the Family History Library and the Minnesota Genealogical Reference Guide, as well as numerous other articles. She is a prolific lecturer and a dedicated teacher.

Thank you, Paula, for your tireless efforts to mentor genealogical researchers. We love and appreciate you!

UGA Board of Directors

UGA Names 2010 Silver Tray Awardee

UGA's Silver Tray award is given "for Scholarly Contributions to the Field of Genealogy. Since 1988 it has traditionally been given for publications efforts." In 2010 we recognized Thomas W. Jones for his efforts in writing and publishing scholarly articles and most especially for editing the NGSQ and allowing the rest of us to learn from the excellent research of top-tier researchers.

Friends and colleagues agree with UGA President Janet Hovorka when she said he is a gentleman and a scholar:

"I would say what a pleasure it is to work with Tom. I've had many opportunities to work with him on various projects and always appreciate and enjoy the experience. Though we're not on the same "genealogical plane" he always makes me feel as though we are. His generous spirit is only one of the assets that make him a leader in our profession, and a friend." --Claire Bettag

Pam Sayre writes, "Tom Jones is the consumate professional, but even more important, he is a good man. He supports others' work, reaching down to pull "newbies" up through education and mentoring. He never has a bad word to say about anyone, and he donates countless hours of time for every paid hour of work he performs in the field of genealogy."

And Rick Sayre writes, "Dedication and professionalism define Tom. He has advanced the study of family history through his innovative teaching and writing. He is the best of the best!"

Thank you, Tom. We so appreciate your contributions to the field of genealogy.

UGA Board of Directors

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday at SLIG: Our revels now are ended -- or just begun?

If I had skipped the homework discussions, I would have missed the best part of Tom Jones's class on Advanced Methodology. More than anything else they gave me a new and different sense of what should be going on when you tackle a hard case -- or, in one of his favorite metaphors, how you try fitting the various pieces together and then try another way, and compare.

My own favorite metaphor is not as unfailingly cordial as his. Every now and then I felt like the winner of a Midwestern state-fair pie-eating contest who had dropped in on a high-level wine-and-cheese tasting session. Others were discussing the subtle relative flavors of two vintages of wine (and whatever it is that cheeses have), while I was asking, "How do you spell 'cheese' again?"

OK, it's not really that bad, but if you've read this far you know there is another realm of genealogy out there. For me, that realm is more easily discerned by trying to solve a hard case, and then discussing it with others who also tried exactly how you attack that case (which was how the "homework" was done). Reading hard cases in final form in the NGSQ or comparable publications is fine, but it doesn't change my naturally lazy disposition as much as that kind of discussion. Must be one of those learning style things they talk about.

As for the Friday banquet, suffice to say that I am not a banquet person. But the experience was totally redeemed by Debbie Mieszala's inspired storytelling. I won't give it away. Just take my word for it, if you have a choice about attending a banquet where she is the speaker, don't dither about it, just GO.

And now the week is over. What's up with that? How can the buzzing second floor of the Radisson revert to just another hotel corridor? How will I manage without being surrounded by enthusiastic genealogists? Will I remember to take off my name tag before the plane lands at Midway?

Or should I just go on wearing it until January 2012?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday at SLIG: snow and the library

Two blocks from SLIG HQ at the Radisson is the Family History Library, overshadowing our in-class and after-class thoughts. Almost everyone has research work to do at the library, either for themselves, or for paying clients, or both. Our time management revolves around its 8am opening and 9 pm closing (except for Monday, family night, when it closes at 5; and Sunday, when it closes, period). You can categorize SLIG people by the smallest increment of time they consider worth trekking up to the library for. (Half an hour, for me, at least in the mornings.) You can also categorize them by how close to the closing bell they pursue their researches. (Ten minutes for me.)

In Advanced Methodology, we have had two formidable overnight pieces of homework. Wednesday's involved analyzing evidence; Thursday's adds the element of researching as well as analyzing. I was displeased with myself for wrongly weighting evidence and reaching a probably wrong conclusion in the Wednesday exercise. And by 8 pm Thursday, my prospects for success in the Thursday homework were looking bleak. Having been indoors almost the entire past 24 hours, I threw on my coat and headed for the library. What a treat! A snowstorm had blown up and was busy blanketing the sidewalks.

The library didn't help my homework, but I did manage to find an interesting fact that promises more records on a client's problematic ancestor. The snow was still going as the last diehards stepped out into the night at 8:55 pm. I met the ever-cordial Leroy Atkins heading the other way under an umbrella.

I love IGHR at Samford, but you cannot take this kind of break from your studies in the Alabama heat. Back in the hotel room with my laptop and quasi-legible scribbled notes, I kept on like the storm and finally zeroed in on the strange but utterly convincing solution to our last homework puzzle. I'd love to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

And suddenly -- tomorrow will be the last day of this "time out of time." The closing banquet is tomorrow night, and I'm trying to figure out if it will finish soon enough to leave us a little library time afterwards.

Wednesday at SLIG: the pace picks up

As the week goes on, there's more happening and less time for non-essentials like blogging and sleeping. And some of what's going on is, well, secret, like Tom Jones's mind-bending evidence-evaluation homework assignment. (Just don't sneak up behind me and say "Spotsylvania," OK?)

Even meals take on lives of their own. Two years ago on my first trip to Salt Lake City and SLIG, Leroy Atkins kindly guided me through the maze to the busy, inexpensive, and nourishing cafeteria in the basement of the Church Office Building. A group of us returned there today. On the way out we crowded into an elevator and kept on talking until somebody pointed out that no one had pushed the button to get back upstairs. (We weren't late to class, but it would have been difficult to formulate the excuse!) Supper was a gathering of ProGen Study Group and Transitional Genealogist Forum folks, accidentally coinciding with crowds who came downtown for the Utah Jazz game.

Institute-goers have a way of referring to courses by the name of the course coordinator, but some of the teaching load is carried by colleagues the coordinator brings in. I've heard Rick Sayre lecture before but I'm always surprised. I swear he doesn't talk fast, doesn't seem in a hurry, and yet all of a sudden I'm inundated with places to go and things to do and half a page behind in my note-taking or marking up the syllabus!

This day we had an unforgettable word tour of the back rooms of the world's largest map collection (Library of Congress). And his Allegheny County Fassbinder research saga makes me want to drop everything, leave my Indiana home, and spend a month camping in Pittsburgh, combining maps and city directories to put the question to my wife's grandmother's fantastically elusive ancestors there. He got the line of the day too: Maps are to genealogists as canvas is to artists, they're "something we paint our genealogy on."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday at SLIG: old things new

I know it's a good genealogy day when I'm seeing supposedly familiar things in a new light:

* indirect evidence (we won't go there, but it kept me up late!),

* the value of fraud and failure (they generated records!),

* federal records (I appreciate being encouraged to take another run at these fantastically underutilized sources, and I'm sure I'll need more),

* how to augment a lecture with chewy treats, and

* my great-great grandfather (who was 25 years old in 1834, and evidently didn't care any more for Andrew Jackson than I do).

When you're picking an institute to attend, it's not hard to evaluate the faculty -- if nothing else, most people know them. It's harder to evaluate the students ahead of time, but it's important, if only because the greatest faculty in the world can only do so much with people who don't get it or aren't ready. SLIG is full of fellow students who do and who are. "So many people, so few meals."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday at SLIG: shifting gears

(Thanks to Christy for the invitation to guest-blog here during this week of the 2011 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.)

I've found myself switching gears again on my second SLIG trip . . .

. . . from the wet snowy Midwest to crisp dry Utah (well, not always so crisp with the inversion);

. . . from smaller-scale cities to monumental Salt Lake City with its endless blocks, double-wide streets, and mountains!;

. . . from the Allen County Public Library to the Family History Library (at least one and maybe two orders of magnitude!);

. . . and now on the first day, from intense research (learning how NOT to use a digital camera on microfilm) to intense instruction (learning how much I do NOT understand evidence) to intense conversation with friends about both of the above, as well as the state of the profession. Two years ago we were big-eyed newbies, now we all have responsibilities beyond sitting in class. Two of my classmates from the 2009 SLIG have joined the august ranks of the evening lecturers.

I'm taking Tom Jones's Course 9, "Advanced Methodology," so naturally I thought he had the best line of the day:

"Evidence does not exist in the absence of a research question."

Maybe you had to be there. I'm glad I am.

-- Harold Henderson

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Meet and Greet

What an exciting night! The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy kicked off with registration and a general meet-and-greet tonight. Everyone received their syllabus, their name tags, and their schedules for the week.

We start off tomorrow bright and early with a networking breakfast and then straight into class. Some of the lectures students will be attending in the various tracks tomorrow include:

  • Apps for Genealogists: Mobile Computing with Gena Philibert Ortega
  • Yes, You Can! Making a Living in Genealogy with Kory Meyerink
  • Turning Biographical Facts Into Real Life Events: How to Build Historical Context with John Colletta
  • Sources for New England Research with Michael J. Leclerc
  • Sources for New York Research with Christopher C. Child
  • Irish Immigration--North American Sources and Methodology with David Ouimette
  • Irish Emigration--Irish Sources and Methodology with David E. Rencher
  • Delving into County Courthouse and Town Hall Records with Paula Stuart-Warren
  • Developing Research Questions and Hypotheses; Planning an Exhaustive Search with Tom Jones
Is your mouth watering? I know mine is. We'll keep you updated throughout the week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New UGA Executive Board

We are also happy to announce that the UGA Board of Directors has elected a new Executive Committee for 2011. They are:

President--Janet Hovorka
1st Vice-President--Christy Fillerup
2nd Vice-President--Sue Maxwell

We are excited to serve UGA in 2011 and we are excited to work with all of you. We are passionate about UGA and believe that it can make a difference in the lives of local and national genealogists. Please let us know how we can make UGA a more useful part of your genealogical life.

Welcome New UGA Board Members

Each year UGA loses three board members and welcomes three new to our ranks. We would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Maren Jeppsen, Howard Bybee, and Jeff Blaylock for their three years of service to UGA. Thank you!

We would also like to welcome our newest board members:

Adele Marcum
Adele Marcum loves being involved in genealogy. A desire to know more about her great aunt Adele led her to an introductory course in genealogy at Brigham Young University. When she found herself spending twice as much time researching her family than she was working on her other homework, Adele knew that something needed to change—and that change was her major! Currently, Adele works for FamilySearch, is serving as the Director of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and dabbles in writing, blogging, and lecturing. Someday when life is less busy, she’d like to research her own family again.

Dan Lawyer
Dan has been working for FamilySearch as a senior product manager since 2004. He has been involved in many aspects of FamilySearch and is currently responsible for the Web site. Dan loves working on his own family history and is passionate about helping others see and share the richness in their ancestry.

Jason Harrison, CG
Jason Harrison, CG, is employed as a United States and Canada Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. His specialties include New England, Mountain states, and LDS research. He received a bachelor’s degree in Family History from Brigham Young University and is a Certified Genealogist.

Patsy Hendrickson, AG
Patsy Hendrickson is an accredited researcher, AG, in LDS research. She has her B.A. in Spanish and English and has been employed at the Family History Library as a United States and Canada Research Consultant since 1985. Her research focus has been in the southern and mid-Atlantic states and Finland. She has taught genealogy at conferences, expos, and the Family History Library and has written research materials for a genealogical Web site.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SLIG--Professional Paths and Income in Genealogy

The Professional Paths and Income in Genealogy course will be taught by Kory Meyerink, AG, MLS, FUGA along with: Natalie Cottrill; Leland K. Meitzler; Craig Scott, CG; Elissa Scalise Powell, CG; Paula Stuart-Warren, CG; and George Ott.

You've made the decision: a career in the growing field of genealogy research! Maybe you've had a few clients actually pay you to do research, but is that what you want to do for a living? There are many ways to generate a living wage in the broad field of genealogy. This course will explore the five dimensions of genealogical careers and outline the important principles that will insure your success. Over time, your career may well include aspects of all five dimensions. Current professionals will learn greater efficiencies and ways to make more money doing what they love.

Prerequisites for this course: Students should have intermediate to advanced genealogical skills and be anticipating or already involved in a genealogical career.

  • Yes You Can! Making a Living in Genealogy
  • Personal Preparation: Education, Training & Credentials
  • Selling Yourself: Building a Resume, Networking, Volunteering
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Establishing Your Rates: Insuring a Profit
  • Making a Profit: The Finances of Small Businesses
  • Billable Time Management: Maximizing Your Income
  • Task Management: Projects, Operations and Support: Getting It All Done
  • On-site Research: Success and Profit on the Road
  • Excellent Reports: Efficient Reporting & Documentation Methods
  • Vendor and Client Relations: Managing Expectations
  • The Speaker's Circuit
  • Teaching Opportunities: Full or Part Time
  • Genealogical Librarianship
  • Employment in Archives & Historical Societies
  • Writing for Pay
  • Publishing: Pitfalls & Promises
  • Bookselling for Profit
  • Corporate Opportunities
  • A Foot in the Door & Climbing the Ladder: Growing and Succeeding as an Employee
This course still has a couple of openings. Go to to register.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Big Thank You

It is with great gratitude that we note the end of Luana Darby’s 2 year service as president of the Utah Genealogical Association. Luana had been the source of wonderful renewal for the organization and an unending fount of energy and enthusiasm.

The list of accomplishments through Luana’s presidency is large. While she has been president, the organization has completed a new website and new social networking communication avenues including a stronger newsletter system, facebook, twitter, blog. Luana has personally contributed to better organization including a renewed committee structure and books for each committee chair to begin passing down the institutional knowledge that will sustain UGA in the future. And in this last year, she has presided over the purchase of a new virtual meeting system that will not only make the organization run more smoothly, but also has facilitated the development of our new Virtual Chapter, and the UGA Online Training and Tutorial Library. While Luana was in office, our journal Crossroads has been revamped and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy has remained one of the premiere sources of genealogy training in the country. And probably the biggest accomplishment of her presidency was the immensely successful hosting of the National Genealogical Society Conference which showed off Utah’s assets to the genealogy community at large, strengthened UGA’s status in the genealogy community and set UGA on a strong footing for future development.

Very few will know of the tireless hours that Luana has put in making sure that everything in this volunteer organization runs smoothly. Even while keeping genealogy clients happy, and earning her Master’s degree in Library Science, and taking care of her family, she has dedicated untold amounts of time to the success of UGA. We will miss Luana’s dedication and her cheerful can-do attitude. Thank you Luana for everything you have done to strengthen the Utah Genealogical Association and Utah’s genealogical community.